Monday, May 16, 2022

Ankalaev vs. Smith Added To UFC 277 Card On July 30

Stakes will be high in the light heavyweight division at UFC 277, with top contenders Magomed Ankalaev and Anthony Smith set to share the Octagon.

The clash between the rising Dagestani and “Lionheart” is the latest bout featured in leaked pictures of the UFC matchmaking board to be confirmed since the images emerged.

The revelation follows news that Bryan Barberena vs. Robbie Lawler and Sean O’Malley vs. Pedro Munhoz are set for UFC 276 on July 2, as the board suggested.

The UFC 277 pay-per-view, slated for July 30, does not have a confirmed location, but the leaked war room images listed Dallas, Salt Lake City, Boston, and Chicago as possible host cities for the event. The addition of Ankalaev vs. Smith was confirmed by MMA Junkie’s Mike Bohn.

Smith (36-16), a former title challenger and the current #5-ranked light heavyweight, has shot back into title contention with three consecutive victories.

After going 1-2 in a trio of bouts following his failed shot at dethroning Jon Jones in 2019, including defeats to current champion Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakić, “Lionheart” has rebounded with a pay-per-view triumph over Jimmy Crute, as well as main event victories over Devin Clark and Ryan Spann.

Now, as the 52-fight veteran looks to secure a second opportunity at holding gold on MMA’s biggest stage, “Lionheart” will have to go through a man tipped as a sure-fire future champion.

Ankalaev (17-1), a former WFCA light heavyweight champion and the current #4-ranked UFC contender, has risen into the group of elite at 205 pounds with eight straight wins inside the Octagon. Since falling to a last-second submission loss to Paul Craig on debut in 2018, the 29-year-old has added the likes of Klidson Abreu, Ion Cuțelaba, and Nikita Krylov to his résumé.

In his latest appearance, which marked his main event debut, Ankalaev dispatched former title challenger Thiago Santos on the scorecards. He’ll now be hoping to secure a title shot by adding the name of another elite contender to his impressive record.

Having previously suggested that Ankalaev isn’t the “boogeyman” people say he is, Smith will be looking to prove himself right and halt the fast surge of the Russian on July 30.

The current fights expected to take place at UFC 277 are as follows:

Derrick Lewis vs. Sergei Pavlovich (heavyweight)

Magomed Ankalaev vs. Anthony Smith (light heavyweight)

The recent matchmaking leak included a heavyweight contest between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic as the UFC 277 headliner, though it’s unclear if that remains the plan after news emerged that Miocic won’t be ready to return until September.

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 277, Magomed Ankalaev or Anthony Smith?

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